Mum’s raw photo: “This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression”

Tori Block

Content warning: this post discusses depression and suicide.  

The photo of  young mum Tori Block shows the new mum struggling to feed her new baby boy — and has sparked an important discussion about postnatal depression (PND).

This is a picture I most likely will not keep up for very long. This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression. I asked Shiloh to take a picture of me, so I could remember how far I’d come, if I ever came out of it. I was lower than low, I wasn’t even myself. Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread in waking up everyday, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain. I had never known consuming, mind altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague. This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome. But there it was, and I kicked its fucking ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life. #thisisppd . . . . #ppd #postpartumdepression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #overcomingppd #mentalhealthsupport #communityovercompetition #stopcensoringmotherhood #motherhoodunited #motherhoodrising #motherhood #takebackpostpartum #momblogger #empoweredbirthproject #mindfulparenting #mindfulmama #consciousmotherhood #motherhood #tribedemama #birthofamama #thechampionsorg

A post shared by Tori Block (@themanifestingmamma) on

“The dread of waking up”

Tori said the photo clearly snapshots the feelings of hopelessness and fear she experienced after her son Bodhi’s birth.

“Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread in waking up everyday, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain.”

She recalls how overwhelming these intrusive feelings were, and how she battled to navigate these difficult days.

“I had never known consuming, mind altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague. This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in.”

Today the internet went out in my town, and a weird thing happened. I felt disconnected and alone being unable to talk with you all. Funny thing about social media is that I once mocked it, ungrateful for the connections I had no idea were possible. How naive I was. But that’s okay, because we are all continually learning and growing. The power and beauty of this all is that we can grow TOGETHER, no matter how near or far. We are all the same right down to our core, we’re made of blood and water and strength and courage and resilience that knows no bounds. Motherhood is equally beautiful as it is challenging, and there’s no shame in being vulnerable. We unite through this teeny tiny community, and within it we find our tribe. And I’m damn grateful to have found mine within each and every one of you. #empoweredwomenempowerwomen ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻. . . . . . . . #ppd #postpartumdepression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #overcomingppd #mentalhealthsupport #communityovercompetition #stopcensoringmotherhood #motherhoodunited #motherhoodrising #motherhood #takebackpostpartum #momblogger #empoweredbirthproject #mindfulparenting #mindfulmama #consciousmotherhood #motherhood #tribedemama #birthofamama

A post shared by Tori Block (@themanifestingmamma) on

Sharing the pain

Tori hopes that by bravely sharing her darkest time, she’ll give hope to other mums, and perhaps prompt them to reach out for support.

“I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome,” she wrote. “But there it was, and I kicked its f*cking ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life.”

Other mums chimed in instantly, relieved that someone had shared an experience that is (very wrongly) often stigmatised.

Many were currently in the thick of PND, while others were still able to connect with the scary and confusing feelings they’d experienced after the birth of their own babies, often years before.

“This is where I am now,” one of Tori’s followers posted. “Struggling to say the least. Thank you for showing me I am not alone.”

“It was a long, long time ago after my oldest was born,” one woman revealed. “It’s been a long road healing all of the damage caused, but it’s healed nonetheless.”

“I wish I had this platform during when I had my son in 2013 and suffered horribly in silence,” another mum wrote. “Wondering what was wrong with me, and I thought I was literally dying. It’s so refreshing to see you and others put their stories out there so they know they are not alone. We can all be the light in someone’s darkest time.”

The message here is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that mums need to be compassionately supported while suffering with PND.

Around the time Bodhi was a newborn I went and grabbed drinks with some friends. And then it happened- a moment I knew was bound to come up in conversation with some friend at some point in time; breastfeeding. – – She started ridiculing a woman she knew for breastfeeding her child for “too long”. The child was 2 years old, but to my (old) friend “that’s too old”. – Mind you this woman has bared no children, but was quick to judge on a topic that she had no business judging. – – My skin crawled, I wanted to scream and shout and tell her the millions of reasons she was wrong; so so wrong. Not only for how wildly disempowering she was towards another female, but for clear lack of knowledge on the subject. – – I’m heartbroken I no longer breastfeed Bodhi. If I knew the woman being judged, I’d have high fived her for being such a badass and committing for so long. For giving another human being sustenance from her body, for being so selfless, for providing her child immunity. Haven’t we been suppressed as females for long enough? We don’t have to like what others do, but we don’t need to put them down for it. Different strokes for different folks. #empoweredwomenempowerwomen #normalizebreastfeeding . #MyAestheticVsRealLife

A post shared by Tori Block (@themanifestingmamma) on


If you think you – or someone you know – might be suffering from postnatal depression or anxiety, please take that first step and reach out for support. PANDA or Beyond Blue are waiting to help.

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